Box-Behnken Design (BBD)-Based Optimization of Microwave-Assisted Extraction of Parthenolide from the Stems of Tarconanthus camphoratus and Cytotoxic Analysis

Molecules. 2021 Mar 26;26(7):1876. doi: 10.3390/molecules26071876.


Parthenolide, a strong cytotoxic compound found in different parts of Tarchonanthus camphoratus which motivated the authors to develop an optimized microwave-assisted extraction (MEA) method using Box-Behnken design (BBD) for efficient extraction of parthenolide from the stem of T. camphoratus and its validation by high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) and cytotoxic analysis. The optimized parameters for microwave extraction were determined as: 51.5 °C extraction temperature, 50.8 min extraction time, and 211 W microwave power. A quadratic polynomial model was found the most suitable model with R2 of 0.9989 and coefficient of variation (CV) of 0.2898%. The high values of adjusted R2 (0.9974), predicted R2 (0.9945), and signal-to-noise ratio (74.23) indicated a good correlation and adequate signal, respectively. HPTLC analyzed the parthenolide (Rf = 0.16) content in T. camphoratus methanol extract (TCME) at λmax = 575 nm and found it as 0.9273% ± 0.0487% w/w, which was a higher than expected yield (0.9157% w/w). The TCME exhibited good cytotoxicity against HepG2 and MCF-7 cell lines (IC50 = 30.87 and 35.41 µg/mL, respectively), which further supported our findings of high parthenolide content in TCME. This optimized MAE method can be further applied to efficiently extract parthenolide from marketed herbal supplements containing different Tarconanthus species.

Keywords: Box–Behnken design; HPTLC analysis; T. camphoratus; cytotoxicity; parthenolide.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents* / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Asteraceae / chemistry*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Chemical Fractionation
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Microwaves
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Sesquiterpenes* / isolation & purification
  • Sesquiterpenes* / pharmacology
  • Temperature


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • parthenolide